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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development



J Biosci



Influence of chronic administration of morphine and its withdrawal on the behaviour of zebrafish.


Malik JA, Nanda S, Zafar MA, Sehrawat S, Agrewala JN


Morphine is a potent analgesic opiate used to treat chronic pain, mostly in cancer patients. In addition, it is widely used as a drug of abuse. Due to the continuous rise of morphine-associated addiction, there is an urgent need to develop pre-clinical animal models to understand the behavioural pattern of drug dependence and its withdrawal. Recently, the experimental use of zebrafish has attained significance in behavioural neuroscience studies. The literature on zebrafish is conflicting with regard to morphine withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, no single model provides comprehensive details to evaluate zebrafish behaviour on opiate exposure. Further, the current models have various limitations, such as short duration, complexity of phenotypes, intricate quantification, and difficulty in studying withdrawal symptoms. Consequently, a firm standardization of the protocol to understand the influence of opiates on physiological and psychological behaviours is required. In this study, we have tried to overcome the shortcomings associated with the existing models and to optimize the protocols involving an array of parameters. We observed that the administration of morphine caused a significant increase in zebrafish behavioural patterns of spiral movements, circular movements, erratic movements, upper transitions, water surface transitions, wall licking, wall licking with upper transitions, wall licking with lower transitions, absolute angle changes, and time spent in the upper compartment. A decline in the freezing bouts and time spent in the lower compartment were noticed. In essence, this study offers a zebrafish model to comprehensively examine changes in behaviour of animals on opiate dependence and its withdrawal. The present study also reported that in zebrafish, the influence of chronic exposure of morphine modulates key gene targets involved in behaviour, neuroinflammation, and autophagy, which directly or indirectly are associated with morphine addiction in a chronic morphine model.